* Posts by Vic

43 publicly visible posts • joined 4 Dec 2007

Department of Homeland Security to destroy swine flu victims


Word 2003 autotext

Yes, I think we can blame that divine intervention. How do I know? Well, mine (strangely) says 'destination' instead of 'destruction' when I get to d-e-s-t.... But there's no accounting for autotext tastes in the various Departments of Horrors.

One can become heavily reliant on this natty little feature when stuck behind a PC typing technical tomes all day, hence the non-compliance with upgrade to newer version and quiet putting-back of 2003 version.

G20 police demand ID as train staff ordered to spy on passengers

Black Helicopters

so what's the meaning of life?

So this just about kills all aspects of daily life then.

No protest = no whinging.

No matching shirts = no going to the footie with the mates.

No travelling on public transport...but you just told us to get rid of the cars as you said they were warming up the planet and all.

No having a cup of tea at home and watching it all on television...since you need the two forms of ID you left behind there, not realising they wouldn't let you back to get them.

No wearing stuff with matching logos - well, that terroristises everyone from the matching middle class hisnhers, matching-the-kiddies abomination all the way through to our friends from less savoury parts of town with their matching shiny branded 'sports' gear.

Just nuke everybody already, what's the bloody point?

Digital Britain: A tax, a quango and ISP snooping

Black Helicopters

It's not about piracy

It's so they can later leverage it to snoop on everything else. once the tech is in place, no worries mate.

that's why they don't mind looking stupid - because (a) it doesn't do anything useful right now but (b) it will do useful stuff later but no one will have the brains to remember why or how it was implemented, or even IF it was implemented.

then they will come for you in the night because you spread 'misinformation' on your opinionated blogs....

SA copper thieves bid for Darwin glory


they are indeed made of copper

Particularly the ones overhead railway lines.

There was an entertaining article on the beeb about a year ago about Cape Town's exports to China. 1. Fruit. 2. Copper. Hang on a minute. We've got no copper deposits here, no plants to get ore into metal....oh yeah, it's all stolen (aka 'recycled'). They now have a task team (called the 'Copperheads') who run around investigating cable theft particularly and have a pretty awesome success rate for SA investigations. Further proof that the theory of specialisation is a good one.

Around that time of the beeb's article, I had all the copper plumbing at the back of my house stolen, the garden tap from the front nicked and wandered out one afternoon to find a couple of little bastards in the process of stealing my water meter. Interestingly, since the copper price has deflated, my local scrapyard really isn't doing the business it once was. It's mighty quiet down there most days. And I replaced the plumbing with the non-copper variety so we're all happy except the thieving guys, who have now resorted to nicking the contents of people's cars, including their CDs, CD players and speakers. So I don't have sound in the jalopy any more now.

Facebook breastfeeding pic takedown gets backs up


It's fairly simple

There is a biological imperative to feed a small child when it's hungry otherwise it will scream and then eventually become comatose and die.

There is a further imperative for mother of small child to get out of the house to do stuff like pay the gas bill and nip to the super. These things may frequently take longer than the length of time the baby ape is not hungry - other people in the vicinity either then have their ears assaulted by screaming of hungry child or can eyeball the (usually reasonably discreet) breastfeeding of child, from which they can avert their eyes and get on with their lives. If, during this (usually reasonably discreet) episode, tit falls out of young ape's mouth, bystanders are required to ignore, sigh and avert their eyes or whatever (usually reasonably discreetly).

Anyone who doesn't acknowledge the biological imperative of child to eat is stupid. Anyone who subverts second imperative with 'someone else should do the shopping' or 'feed the kid from a bottle' needs to get a life. Thus, with some small amount of acceptance and decorum, we will all get by. I spent six years of my life breastfeeding a succession of sprogs in a reasonably discreet fashion and they appear to have grown up fine.

As for the facebook debate? Frankly, given the second imperative and the chance that involuntary exposure happens and everyone must just get over it...I'd go with get over it. And the complaining offenders should really look back into themselves and wonder what's wrong with their sad selves that they care. And the mums with boobs should just purge their friends lists and accept that not everybody likes them.

And 'think of the kids': I couldn't care if my sprogs see breasts, regardless of their age. They appear unfazed by normal stuff. If they see a new mother breastfeeding, the male offspring fail to see/ignore and the female offspring go 'aw, look at that cute baby.' But whatever. I'm past caring. I spent six years fighting these people's battles for them, now they can do what they want with it. I don't think there's any pictures of my nekkid breastfeeding going around t'internet though but who knows.


Hasbro drops lawsuit against Scrabulous creators


Have Hasbro...

...ever admitted whether or not their sales of an ancient geeks-only board game spiked after Scrabulous arrived? I was watching their results a while back and waiting for one of their analysts to ask. But of course, when did an analyst ask a question we actually wanted the answer to - like 'do you have lots of money invested in really, really dodgy subprime loans?'

See, the answer to this may provide an answer to whether or not they should have bought a share in Scrabulous or something (or insisted on a free share and then tagged it with their logo).

MP calls for Jezza Clarkson's head

Black Helicopters

If your local Member of Parly...

...has enough time to be not only having the TV on but actually watching it enough to catch a dumbass throwaway line, they're NOT WORKING ENOUGH. Bejaysus, I don't have the time to even reach-behind-the-unit-to-the-socket-because-it's-off-to-save-electricity-from-being-on-standby and switch the effing thing on and I don't get paid even half as much as this muppet's expenses. Even half! Eh, who am I jesting? A lot less than that.

And I have an interest in this as it's the other half's muppet MP...MUPPETS!!! Can we have a muppet icon please for dumbass parly dude stories that don't relate to black helos? Although actually this could be a black helo story. They're really driving that self-censorship thing to extremes.

Bebo users release interstellar spamgasm at Gliese 581


This would explain

...why I woke up this morning with an alien voice ringing in my head going, 'Would you like us to destroy your brainless overlords? We will offer you freedom in exchange for resourcessss........'

I didn't understand it at the time but it all makes sense now. Thank you, new extra-terrestrial overlords. Please go ahead. When I am governor of your newest territory, you will be welcome to take some resources (you can't really do a worse job of overexploitation than us, can you?) in exchange for some new technology that will automatically zap anyone who writes stupid messages.....zzzap. Damnit.

Stick health warnings on gays, says Stock Exchange chaplain


WTF does the stock exchange need a chaplain?

nuff said really. I can't believe that the stock exchange is going to require baptism of it's offspring or....

last rites?

Reg competition: Cisco goes isup

Paris Hilton


ITs adverTising the HP Cisco STrategic Alliance. Duh.


ThoughT ThaT was obvious.

Cisco.com suffers lower case t breakdown


And they'd like you to think

That they're the kind of guys who dot their Is and cross their Ts? Huh? They don't even have Ts. That's just damn careless.

Pub toilet todger tiff ends in bloodbath

Thumb Down


is the idea of people opening fire on other people in public places relatively normal these days?

Unfortunately I'd have to second and third the other comments. This is SA, y'know.

And some of the guys fetching the blasters from their boot? Cops. Don't know if there's an IT angle in that bit of info either but it's effing depressing.

Reg readers rage at comment icon outrage

Jobs Horns


ooh lovely. old billy goat is baaaack. not that i see him.

how about a freetard one?

a lost flash drive?

a hadron one? NO I DID NOT SAY THAT

a climate change denier one.

sarah palin. (that paris one just needs brown hair, it reminds me of her sickeningly) you know this is going to come in useful when U.S.A.S.S.election (TM) all hots up. actually, just make one for this and the previous...

red dwarf icons. absolutely a whole host of those.

like the idea of a BB eye as well. privacy absolutely needs its own icon.

And a giant 42.

just noticed the apple core. i like.

OMFG, what have you done?


think it looks nice

font's a tad small...but otherwise nice and clean looking. i don't have the fixed-width issues though because obviously it's made for something on resolution i'm looking at it on.

BUTTTTTTTT - the new icons really really suck.

new facebook - 1/10

new reg - 7/10

not so bad.

Hadron boffins: Our meddling will not destroy universe


It's not a big deal.

I mean, so the supercomputer has a hard drive failure, so what? Slartibartfast will just build 'em another.

Government kids database under fire, again


If this database is to protect vulnerable kids...

Why would you keep data to hand only on the not-particularly-vulnerable and hide that of the kids that may well need assistance? Are the purveyors of nonsense tripping over their own tits in their haste to talk crap?

1. We need this to protect vulnerable kids.

2. People who work with these kids will have access to the kind of data they need to help these kids.

3a). All kids are on it (well, all kids are vulnerable, I guess, as are all adults).

3b). The really vulnerable ones you won't be able to help as a result of the database because you, mere minion, won't be able to see their records.

Eh? Eh? Eh?

And if it's not secure enough for MPs' kids, it isn't secure enough for mine. Yet another reason I will never again live in the UK. I cannot trust a government that screws up so much but believes that only they have the divine right to tell me how to run my life and how to bring up my children, even when it is none of their business because I am in contravention of no law. It's such an Orwellian concept.

I was thinking of moving to Alaska till the latest saga made me realise what hicks they all were - and realising that NuLayber's blood brothers the Republicans are real, live and kicking there too.

45th Mersenne prime discovered (possibly)

Paris Hilton

um, no

9.9 recurring is 10 for similar reasons to 1/0 being a number approaching infinity (ie exceedingly and unknowably large), right? Maths as less than applied was a long time ago...

Although I'd have better chance of explaining to Paris that that latter one is true(ish) than to my daughter's fifth grade teacher who is absolutely adamant that 1/0=0. But then perhaps if someone just explained it and told her why you just don't introduce the concept of dividing by zero to smallish kids (did she never wonder why that was??) if you're not prepared to at least explain the idea behind it (dividing by an increasingly large number decreasing your solution increasingly and vice versa). The child refuses to try on the basis that (1) Teacher won't understand it and (2) on the offchance that she does, she (Teacher) will think she's an infernal knowitall and give her crap marks for maths for the rest of the year.

Council clamps down on 'man on the street'



Look, I'm a non-man and I don't feel invisible if someone says 'manning the switchboard'. Partially because I'm senior enough that I don't have to man the switchboard but also because it's frigging irrelevant.

I'm just so tired of all this posturing quackery. The council bans the use of the word 'man' but they're quite happy to persecute women, children, minorities, whatever it is they feel like today by their assish ways.

There's nothing wrong with translating official docs into someone's language, particularly if they're a relatively recent immigrant, as such. But there's everything wrong with SAYING on the one hand 'look how PC we are, we don't allow people to say slightly off-colour things' (pun not initially intended but hey, I'm talented - or not) and DOING on the other hand racial and ethnic profiling of the 'you have an Arabic name, we'd best strip search you then hold you for 42 days' variety. Or going 'look how PC we are, we don't talk about manning the switchboard' and then cutting funding for afterschool programmes and then bitching because a couple of single mums walk out from personing the switchboard and end up back on benefits. (Yeah, that's going to be a whole debate in itself.)

IT angle - well, probably the fact that the COWncil claims to have spent a big budget on Unified Comms but persons a SWITCHBOARD. Ugh.

Keep the masses involved with useless semantic crap then we can all feast under the table while they're not looking. Aliens.

US utilities plot remote switch off


South Africa wants to do this

But by a slightly less IT friendly method I think - something to do with ripple switches on hot water systems and other non-essentials like pool pumps and air con. See, I resent that. My hot water system is switched off practically all summer - I mean, it's like 35 degrees, no one uses the hot water anyway - but when I want a hot shower I want a hot shower...but of course that's going to be the exact time I can't get one. And I don't have air con nor a swimming pool.

Personally I'm in favour of local government using reservoirs - pump water up by means of small wind farm, etc. and cheap electricity overnight (I mean no one's using it at 4am are they?) then run it at peak times if they find themselves under stress. And yeah, charge people extra for peak power if you want.

The other thing that might just help is a massive subsidy on efficient solar for households and businesses (won't work in the frozen north but for the rest of us). If I can get a couple of cheap panels to run 40% of my household needs, that's 40% I won't need from the grid. But no, that's too difficult. We'd rather invest taxpayers' money in big new dumbass coal-fired. Why? Because then all your power needs are belong to us. Maybe Monsanto has a deal with the utilities....

American man too fat for execution


Two things

Naughty AC ***'merkin prisons are all-you-can-eat?***

See, a merkin would be pointless as he wouldn't be able to see it.....ohhhhhh, I see what you mean. <smirk>

And the other thing is, does no one see the ironies in this whole thing. I mean really.

1. Did he give anaesthetics to the people he supposedly murdered? So does anyone really care if he hurts a bit?

2. Um, you can kill him because that's okay but it mustn't hurt because that's not okay? That sounds more like for the executioners' peace of mind actually but if you're prepared to kill the bloke, why would you care?

3. They can only execute people who are lean but they feed the prisoners up and let them skive out of exercise? D.U.M.B.

If you'd just accept that capital punishment is sick anyway, you'd get over these logical hurdles. Yes, I know the appeals process is allegedly 'exhaustive' but it's pretty exhaustive in a lot of other countries and people still get let off after years - in the UK you can think about the cot death mums and that stalker guy that was let out the other day...not much hope for them if they'd already been executed now.

Alien concept...

Microsoft crowbars Live Search into Facebook


lol AC

"Craig, have you tired my latest operating system..."

I thought Vista was 'un-tire-able", Brother William - just keeps going like the Energizer bunny? Uh-huh....yeah. Limp, limp, limp, limp, ai-yooooooh.....

*Bounces out shaking booty, wearing low slung jeans and a lot of bling*

UK ISPs agree to menace their filesharing users

Paris Hilton

ummmm....how do they know?

Someone enlighten me please. How exactly do they know WHAT I'm downloading? Do they see what sites I've visited and make assumptions or do they look at my bandwidth usage and make assumptions? Or do they snoop on the filetypes and make assumptions? Or do they raid my house when I'm out and nick my machines?

I'm feeling a little vacant of knowledge of the method by which they decide on guilt and potential disconnection.

Operation Sprogwatch: Keeping tabs on the kids



Here are my thoughts on this.

Allow kids to become independent by degrees like they're supposed to...until that mythical time when they get their own flat and only call you now and again, mostly when they need money to take the cat to the vet. Look, I don't necessarily take my own advice but hope the kids will eventually get to that mirage-like place.

Sensible bit of information - the vast majority of child abuse is carried out by PEOPLE YOU KNOW. In other words, your child's ability to trust you as a parent and tell you that Uncle Joey asked them to do something bad the other day is vastly more important than snooping. Family members, parents' 'friends' and acquaintances are more likely culprits and aren't going to be deterred by this kind of thing since you already know the kid's at Uncle Joey's house, right?

This kind of device makes parents lazy and probably increases the chances of the kid being snatched anyway. 'Oi, where's the kid? It's probably nipped off to the butchery section to watch them chop up the pigs again. Never mind, it's got that squeezy thing on.'

I think it's just a great trial for other related snooping technology - being financed and then carried out for free by paranoid parents.

Oh, and a random story - one of my kids was a total runner around the age of three. Got almost lost once in Woolies (couldn't choose somewhere tasty obviously) and after that I purchased a kid leash. Child wore it three times then told me it was no longer required - had learned that the ability to explore is best curtailed by self and not dog-style lead. In that total maybe of two hours I had about 10 complete strangers march up to me and tell me I was a disgusting parent....eh? Same kind of demographic I'd guess as the ones who are interested in this snooping device. I think it's probably an 'obvious' vs 'underhand' style of parenting but I'm clearly biased.

Obama bloats Vista by 11MB



Does it even recognise the word 'tranche' yet? I've lost count of how many machines I've had when I've had to custom that. Or 'EBITDA'...I mean there's loads of words (yes, pedants, and acronyms) in everyday usage (at least on my machines) that I just custom. The only danger in that is people who can't spell decide to add words to your custom dictionary just because...

As for 'replacing the entire dictionary', hope it doesn't restore all your custom defaults too. I wouldn't know, I'm a Vista refusenik (installed XP over Vista-supplied machines) but I could see it happening one day because you know all your personal Obamas are belong to M$.

David Davis tells El Reg that Labour is 'mesmerised' by tech


It's amazing

Bloody amazing when El Reg swings Tory. But I think lots of us are uncomfortably settlings into the 'best of a bad bunch' camp. Me, I'm with the Lib Dems. Bunch of sore-arsed fence sitters they might be but with a good ole Socialist upbringing from the days when the Reds wuz real the Toryness has put me in a spot here. But that said, it depends on where you're living. If I was here with ole Davis, I might become a quiet closet Tory.

I didn't realise that Tons becoming the great Bush's lapdog would go quite this far. Amazing.

Microsoft soothes Vista pain with Bossploitation flick

Gates Horns

Oh Mobius

It was so funny, so funny. I tried to delete the recycle bin like you asked but I started to laugh but it hurts so much and tastes really nasty....

UK.gov will force paedophiles to register email addresses


Phorm them!

Someone had the seeds of a great idea earlier. Stop phorming on the rest of us, just phorm the phreaks! Then you can send them targeted advertising, get them to click and *CLINK*, round come the coppers with their cuffs. This is really a much better idea. Jacqs doesn't seem to be seeing her problems. See the flaw (singular)? Jokes.

1. I have about eight email addresses and I don't use anything techie like a catch-all. That's just my personal adds, not work adds. How many boxes on the forms? Can you use extra pages?

2. Duh, you don't have to register your own name. I mean, people wanting to do this evil stuff wouldn't register in their own names, would they?!!! I mean, when I go check out my 13-year-old daughter's MySpam 'friends' and I find a 48-year-old greying, balding, slightly overweight bloke with an old-man name I'm going to go 'Eh?' and look into it.

3. Pretty much all of this crime is committed by people who know and have access to kids in real life - parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents, stepparents, neighbours, teachers....why on earth would they have to 'make cool' themselves on Bebo when single mothers are working two jobs and leaving their kid with the so-called 'government accredited' childcare provider whose husband doesn't need an email address? Government needs to look at its own policies of accrediting people and their own work and benefits policy - the core - rather than this window-dressing nonsense for The Daily Mail.

4. Err, how do we define a 'social networking' site? Is it just the big three (or however many there are today)? What about general message boards and other online communities? Blogs? They're probably more risky in terms of this kind of thing than a Facebook is...

And so on and so on. You'd think the slightly less aged breed of politician would be a bit savvier when it came to tech stuff. Bring some of those fusty Law Lords into politics, it couldn't be any worse, could it? Or better still, how about ensuring that those large 'research' budgets aren't spent on MPs' 16-year-old kids' 'salaries' and actually buy some technical expertise. Come to think of it, why didn't they hire some proper 16yos? They'd have knocked this one out of the running before Jacqui had even had the opportunity to go 'Err, I think [not][never]...'

Facebook security hole exposes Paris Hilton's . . . um, pics


Oh dear

I've been looking at people's private pics for ages probably. If one of your friends comments on some other random person's photo it will pop up on their feed - you just click and scroll through the whole album. I actually kind of assumed till now that the pics weren't actively designated private but it was just that I wasn't 'friends' with that person and so I couldn't access their stuff by 'normal means', ie through their prorile....ouch, maybe they are... I think I should disable comments on my pics then...

There are so many privacy holes in this it's pretty insane. Makes you almost want to believe the stories....the making of it seems to have been a bit of a one-hit wonder. I guess there's always real one-hit wonders though, maybe we're only allowed one really good idea each. There's bands like that as well...Milli Vanilli, uhhhh....

(Seriously showing my age here, lol)

Awed fraudsters defeated by UK's passport interviews


ALL first time applicants?

Are they going to interview my youngest daughter? Are they? Are they? Someone please tell me it's so. She will absolutely love to give absolute strangers a piece of her mind. Whether or not it will be useful to them, I'm unsure.

Your business communications are a mess


I thought email saved us from this stuff

No, seriously. Email was supposed to be like the pinnacle of communication...quick, cheap, easy, less ambiguous than a fluffy telephone conversation - plus it leaves a trail as good as (no, better!) than paper.

I pick up my emails when I'm mobile. I'm one of those stupid people who checks my emails at 2am if I wake up and can't get back to sleep instantaneously. However, I rarely answer my phones (any of them). And on the rare occasions I do, the conversation is usually short and ends with, 'Send me a quick email, OK?'

I don't need or want Unified Communications. I'm a UC luddite. I don't fear it, it just IRRITATES ME. I check my bloody emails 25 times a day. It's enough that you'll get an answer within a few hours at most. Go away.

And WHY must it be UUUUUUnified CCCCCCommunications....surely it's just unified communications? If you want it to become a way of working, a way of life, an everyday gotta-have it mustn't be special and all capped like it's a proper noun.

US may shoot down spy sat to safeguard tech secrets


South Africa needs another power plant

So I reckon I'll just put a massive magnet thing near that big telescope thing, drag it down here, nick that big nuke core someone was talking about and my personal energy crisis will be solved. The rest of you can stop speculating now, you're doing your heads in.

I might need a big lead and other things box to put it in if I'm going to keep it in my back yard though...problem is there's no bloody electricity to run the mines and smelters and factories needed to process that kind of stuff.

There goes another bloody good idea.

Maybe that lead-lined coat there on that hanger would be good to nick as well.

Students win appeal against cyberjihad convictions

Dead Vulture

Journos are not gods

"Do you seriously think that any government wants to be responsible for images of dead babies appearing all over the 24 hour satellite news channels?"

Implies that journalists are omniscient. I don't think governments care about certain things if people don't find out about them. I understand why not. As with the 'war against terror', 'freedom fighting', etc. you'll easily accept a certain amount of intentional civilian damage and do your damnedest to not draw attention to it.

There are plenty of governments who would happily kill entire families every day. They do it. Many of them are viewed as autocracies by Western societies but doesn't change the fact that they're governments.

Do I believe that the UK government is on a par with groups behind suicide bombings? No. But the point is that Stuart reinforces: you can't be convicted for your thoughts, reading matter, etc. in most Western societies. I might like the idea of putting these blokes behind bars preventatively but can't JUSTIFY it.

By leaving them out we risk losing our loved ones to a terrorist attack (but those particular blokes aren't much risk as they'll be well under surveillance). By putting them away, the next thing the black jackboots jumping out of that helo will be kicking down your door, shooting you full of sedatives, carting your kids off into the care of the government and you'll wake up under a big bright light being screamed at in New Guantanamo Bay.

I guess we can all decide for ourselves whether the risk of terrorism is large enough for us to forego some of our freedoms. There'd have to be more risk before I'd give up mine.

Thumb Down

Simple definition of terrorists just don't hack it

*Ok, people, it's not that difficult. A freedom fighter fights against military and/or government targets. A terrorist targets civilians to cause, well, terror in the general populace.*

Unfortunately this is not the case in most of the world, and it is only the case from a subjective viewpoint - if one can just hold one's breath long enough to avoid admitting your own duplicity.

The US (possibly, who knows?) appeared to believe that in going into Iraq and Afghanistan they were aiding the case of freedom. By the definition above EVEN IF THEY WERE RIGHT they are terrorists. They have been known to attack civilian targets (mistakenly or otherwise) and the innocent have been deemed 'collateral damage'. This causes terror in the general populace and might even be an aim of said attacks - 'Don't support them or this will happen more.' The Israelis do the same thing.

So by this neat definition we have a problem:

US - terrorists

Iraq - terrorists

Israel - terrorists

Palestine - terrorists

Old SA govt - terrorists

ANC - terrorists

IRA - terrorists

British Army (oh yes they did) - terrorists

We could go on and on and on but I'm sure the picture is clear here. There is wrong and wronger, and less wrong. The end does in fact justify the means. We are all terribly sorry for the collateral damage and pray that that collateral damage is not our own child. But it's not any less just because you support the whichever side is a terrorist today and can't admit it to yourself.

UK teen is world's youngest certified ethical hacker (maybe)

Paris Hilton

I think we might be missing the point.

About newsworthiness, hell who knows. About bits of paper, they're worth absolutely peanuts in the real world. That stretches from th'owd O levels all the way up to every other bit of toilet roll you acquire on your way through life.

But the point of getting bits of paper is to prove that you can, that you're vaguely capable of this kind of stuff. Otherwise how does the poor monkey in HR tell the difference between a 16 year old who claims to have spent the last 5 years being an ethical hacker and knows everything (actually what he means was he nicked his mum's email password and has been reading her stuff) and a kid who genuinely does know their stuff?

You've got to remember that HR aren't subject specialists. In the case of a couple of companies I've worked for, HR aren't even HR specialists but that's another story. They've got to have some kind of screening mechanism to try and minimise their effups.

The bloke is 16, I think we should give him some credit. If a 16 year old gets a diploma in something it's usually pretty cool and took some general brightness. Usually. Maybe. Sometimes.

Paris don't need toilet roll though.

IT problems force HMRC to extend tax deadline


actually I think it was...

Accenture and IBM who set it up. But that's just speculation. Accenture claim it as theirs somewhere random on t'internet. Who knew?

Thumb Up

for once we did something right

err...I think. I could be wrong of course.

Revenue system in South Africa had exactly the same problem yesterday. I'm (strangely) a Luddite on this, I like paper trails so mine was done in October and my R0.67 rebate is surely flying to me already as I got the notification weeks ago. (That being about 5p.)

However, they issued a kind of e-ticket to everyone who couldn't get into the actual filing system yesterday which you then redeemed and it gave you an extra 24 hours. No e-ticket, penalties coming your way. You need to prove you tried, not just sat around whining. I'd imagine it relieved the system pressure a bit too because you'd then be able to nip off for a couple of pints knowing that if it happened tomorrow you'd still be good.

It just seemed nice and proactive for them to have thought about the fact that shit happens and make a plan in advance. No idea who they've outsourced that lot to but they're pretty decent as tax men go so I'd imagine they expect some level of competence. Should look it up but I'm too lazy.

Miserable? It must be U


It's proof of feng shui

According to feng shui, the number 4 is enormously inauspicious as it sounds like the word 'death. So 44 is supposedly doubly inauspicious as it sounds like 'death death' or double death... at least in our number system it does. I guess 444 would be even more awful but if I got there I shouldn't worry about petty things like my age being triple deathish.

So it's all obvious really. Why bother with the research...

Do not (I repeat not not on pain of death death) ask me how I know this thing as I shan't admit that I really do know this piece of triv ever.

Kid's 'new' MP3 player was preloaded with smut


new car?

It probably was full of smut but I'm a bit unsure of the motivation here.

I have an almost 10 year old daughter and (a) I'd have loaded some of that crud Rihanna/Westlife stuff she likes on to it beforehand - at least three or four tracks, come on people! and (b) I know kids are tech-savvy but I'm not sure that a 10 year old takes an mp3 player out of the box and immediately jumps in and gets all the preloaded stuff off it without a bit of 'Hey Mum, show me how this works pls?' because they don't read instruction manuals....well, neither do I but whatever.

Plus, if the parents hadn't preloaded anything, was the kid putting her music on by herself straight up? No parental assistance in that regard at all? I'm sure lots of kids do, my daughter is a complete whiz at powerpoint slides (better than me, sadly, I have better things to do) and I've surely not taught her, she just figured it out. Still, I'm a bit uneasy with this idea that this smut just jumped out....

That said, we had a nice Nokia in our house that died when it was about three weeks old so it went back to its shop, spent three weeks away and then promptly died again. The 'new', 'out of the box' replacement came in an opened box *it had been 'checked'* and some interesting preloaded pix of one ugly man. ew.

Rubbish UK management crushing creativity


you can only take a tea break if you smoke....

"Is the UK the only country where managers will flap in the breeze over an employee turning up for work 2 minutes late yet not bat an eyelid when people waste half the day on random tea and fag breaks?"

Nope, South Africa is like that. My last company was a prime example. They are the major reason I now work for myself. Stifling is too nice a word.

Oh, wait - it was run by Brits. Damn, defeated my own point there.

I shouldn't bitch, I am one but hell....I can bitch then, we're good at it.

Western Digital drive is DRM-crippled for your safety

Thumb Down


"There are lots of people out there with mp3/avi files that are perfectly legal to share - this device is designed, specifically, to stop people sharing files that is is perfectly legal to do so."

That being the entire point. My copious collection of mp3s is not music - in fact, I think I have three tracks on this drive (all validly licensed). Yep, sad indeed. These mp3s - and other assorted formats -- are recordings of lectures, research meetings, etc. - all here for a legitimate reason and sometimes need to be shared (again perfectly lawfully).

Send it back to its maker. In a box.

How much does El Reg cost the global economy?


didn't know anyone else in sunny SA slacked like this

But someone beat me to this. It's certainly not someone in my company as there's only moi here...

I don't consider it slacking. Imagine the screeds of worthless crud and propaganda I'd have to wade through to get this much info in this little time. Okay, so I still have to do some crud-wading but hey, Santakins was fun. Yep, that was definitely slacking though....

One sad point though: if there's more than one of us in South Africa that will really knock your 'cost to the world' down big time once you've factored in our measly minimum wage in the rest of the world if you're lucky pay scales.

Secret mailing list rocks Wikipedia


never mind sock puppets

Sockpuppets are the same person making (sometimes multiple) accounts to get 'false consensus' or something - or using them to evade bans.

A ripened sock would be a secondary account of someone already contributing that's been around for ages....and is kind of established.

Never mind sockpuppets though, did you know that you can get banned for suspected 'meatpuppetry' - i.e. you convince some real people you know to go on to Wikipedia and back your views. How *do* they know?

Microsoft's sex-obsessed RoboSanta spouts filth at children


they need some new developers....

What do you want for Christmas, Vic?

Vic says:

a gun

- Santa - says:

That's a popular wish this year!

I'll see what I can do!

Anything else, Vic?

Vic says:

a brain

- Santa - says:

"Artificial intelligence" means different things to different people. Some consider Windows Live Agents-powered interactive agents to demonstrate artificial intelligence. I like to think that they demonstrate the intelligence of the people who built the software platform and the scripters of the interactive agents